OPINION: Recent travel incidents show how US continues to let Puerto Rico down | CNN (2023)

Editor's note:Ed Morales (@Spanish kid) is a journalist and lecturer at the Center for Ethnic and Ethnic Studies at Columbia University and a 2022-2023 Mellon Foundation Fellow at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies in New York. He is the author of Neverland: Colonialism, Exploitation, and Betrayal in Puerto Rico, and the opinions expressed are his own. see moremineArticle on CNN.


Although alreadyLaws since 1917, for those born in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, the nature of U.S. citizenship has always been murky.Puerto Ricans can serve in the U.S. Armed Forces but are denied the right to elect a president; the island is a U.S. territory but was never a strong candidate for annexation.

OPINION: Recent travel incidents show how US continues to let Puerto Rico down | CNN (1)

Ed Morales

(Video) First Look: ‘Leguizamo Does America’ – Puerto Rico | MSNBC

Puerto Rico was almost an afterthought after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017,Significantly less aid from FEMA than Texas and Florida received from Hurricane Irma- and much slower. It's as if the US government forgot that Puerto Ricans are US citizens.

Two recent incidents involving rental car company Hertz and airline Spirit have shown how Puerto Ricans' U.S. citizenship can be called into question and their sense of belonging can be fleeting and haphazard.

(Video) PUERTO RICO: 10 Most Common Tourist MISTAKES (2023 Travel Guide) (San Juan + More)

May 9, Humberto Marchand,Former U.S. Federal Probation Officer, was denied a rental car by a Hertz agent at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport because she did not believe Marchand's driver's license (REAL-ID issued in Puerto Rico) was valid and asked him to show his passport. Marchant, who traveled to New Orleans to help his son move out of the apartment, was turned away by the agent, who eventually called the police, despite paying the rent upfront. The official then allegedly accused Marchand of causing a riotbody cam videosReleased by the Kenner Police Department, first obtained by Fox 8 New Orleans. Hertz later apologized to Marchand and refunded his rent. "We are reinforcing our policies with our employees to ensure they are understood and consistently followed across our locations," the company said.

Kenner Police Chief Keith Conley apologized and said Marchand should not have spoken in this way. Conley added that the department is investigating the incident.

Two weeks ago, Luis and Marivi Roman Towers, aGift Puerto Rican couple on their way back to the islandFly with Spirit Airlines from Los Angeles. But they were not allowed to board the plane because their two-year-old son did not have a passport. They had presented a Puerto Rican driver's license, which was wrongly denied. Although they presented U.S. passports, they were told that their flight home was an "international flight" and that they could be refunded or rescheduled after their baby got a passport. They ended up booking a JetBlue flight at a much higher price. Spirit Airlines apologized to the family and said the new agent misunderstood the situation and received "further guidance".

Signage is displayed outside Hertz Global Holdings. A car rental and sales location in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Friday, November 6, 2015. Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty Images/FILE Hertz apologizes after refusing to rent to Puerto Ricans

But these events—and past events, whenPuerto Ricans threatened with deportationDespite being a U.S. citizen - this shows that there is a big problem. Much of the American public is confused about Puerto Rico's status as an unincorporated territory, reinforcing the idea that Marchand and many other Puerto Ricans view it as a "second-class citizen" whose validity is constantly being explained or challenged. persistent to no availIncompetence of the US CongressPassing immigration reform legislation in part fueled the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment and the demonization of Hispanic immigrants and their descendants, creating an atmosphere in which anyone with a Spanish surname or “Hispanic” appearance People may be vulnerable to questioning their citizenship . .

(Video) Don’t MOVE or COME to Puerto Rico, unless you can deal with these 10 things

Puerto Rico has an ambiguous relationship with the United States. While everyone born on the island is a citizen, they do not have full citizenship rights unless they live on the mainland, where they can vote for elected representatives to the U.S. Congress and for the president. Those living on the island's territory do not have full constitutional protection or full entitlement to federal benefits. Annual Medicaid funding is limitedRequires special legislation from Congress to secure its funding.... Last year, inUS v. Vaello-Wood,U.S. Supreme Court rules Congress can exclude Puerto Rico residentsFrom some disability benefits available to people living in the United States.

Puerto Rico's "commonwealth" status, designed to give the island some control over its internal affairs while allowing its residents such limited U.S. citizenship, is also contested by the Supreme Court ruling. at the same timePuerto Rico v. Sanchez-Valle and Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Exempt Trust, both issued in 2016, held that the Commonwealth has no powers independent of Congress. The latter case stripped Puerto Rico of its ability to create its own municipal bankruptcy law, paving the way for the 2016 Puerto Rico Supervision, Management and Economic Stabilization Act (POMESA), which aimed to restructure the region's more than $70 billion in debt. debt, giving fiscal oversight and a board of directors (an instrument of Congress) full control of the island's finances. The committee was appointed in 2016 by then-President Barack Obama after he signed the bill into law.

Members of the Puerto Rico National Guard rescue a woman trapped in her home after Hurricane Fiona in Salinas, Puerto Rico, Sept. 19, 2022. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo Ricardo Arduengo/Reuters

Ironically, given Puerto Rico's lack of sovereignty as an unincorporated territory, the Supreme Court ruled on May 11 that the same fiscal watchdog and board enjoy sovereign immunity,give it the right to withhold informationFrom the Center for Investigative Journalism in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico's situation is ambiguous, when its residents can only enjoy full citizenship rights while living in the 50 states, when can it be consideredA "state" not a municipalityFor bankruptcy law purposes, is captured by a pair of phrases from an early 20th century Supreme Court decision known as the Islands Case: Puerto Rico in the State"belongs to, but does not belong to"America. It is"foreign, domestic

Although Puerto Ricans have begun to move away from 1960s films such as "West Side Story" and "young savage"The news and entertainment media remain underrepresented, and our place in America is unclear.Florida, including books about Puerto Rican Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and baseball legend Roberto Clemente, do little to maintain a sense of belonging. It's as if Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans have no history or existence.

(Video) Puerto Rico Travel Vlog!

Even the Supreme Court, in a written opinionJustice Neil Gorsuch, andagreeWith Sotomayor recently expressing doubts about the exclusivity of isolated cases affecting everyone13 unincorporated regionsAmerica's. But they remain in effect, and Puerto Rico's citizenship remains vague, despite the Jones Act of 1917 that explicitly granted it. Congress recently attempted to clarify Puerto Rico's status, the Puerto Rico Identity Act,Uncertain future, especially after Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm elections.

Get our free weekly newsletter

The Puerto Rican legislature voted unanimously for independence in 1914, but the U.S. passed the Jones Act in 1917 to grant U.S. citizenship to all Puerto Ricans instead. since then,Puerto Rico's independence movement has a historySuppressed by the state authorities, resulting in low voter support for the Independence Party. However, in the 2020 election, the party increased13,6 %- Just last month, the Independence Partyally with Citizens Victory Movement, which onereceived almost 14%votes, a move that could affect Puerto Rico's future status policy.

But with Puerto Rico's debt restructuringstart, it isOnce depreciated bonds start returning to the bond market, the island faces theWealthy U.S. real estate investors are buying waterfront propertiesand distortions in the real estate market. But the U.S. citizenship of Puerto Ricans continued to be called into question as a new class of wealthy Americans settled freely in Puerto Rico. The island's 3.2 million residents (and those living on the mainland) continue to endure this injustice, and Congress and the Supreme Court act to address it Works best remotely.


How does the US have control over Puerto Rico? ›

Just months later, however, the United States invaded the island during the 1898 Spanish-American War as part of a broader effort to push Spain out of the Caribbean and the Pacific. Spain lost the war and ceded Puerto Rico to the United States, along with other territories, including Guam and the Philippines.

What is Puerto Rico's current status with the US? ›

The political status of Puerto Rico is that of an unincorporated territory of the United States. As such, the island of Puerto Rico is neither a sovereign nation nor a U.S. state.

What happened when the US took over Puerto Rico? ›

Puerto Rico. On October 18, 1898, American troops fighting in the Spanish-American War raised the United States flag in Puerto Rico formalizing U.S. control of the former Spanish colony. General Nelson A. Miles had landed approximately 3,500 U.S. troops on the island on July 25.

Should you travel to Puerto Rico now? ›

Puerto Rico is a relatively safe destination with a lower crime rate than many other areas of the United States. It is one of the safest Caribbean islands.

Is Puerto Rico protected by the US? ›

The Supreme Court further ruled that only "fundamental rights," not the full U.S. Bill of Rights, protected the inhabitants of territorial possessions including Puerto Rico. Under the Foraker Act, the U.S. president must appoint a U.S. citizen as governor of Puerto Rico.

Why does the US keep Puerto Rico as a territory? ›

The strategic value of Puerto Rico for the United States at the end of the nineteenth century centered in economic and military interests. The island's value to US policy makers was as an outlet for excess manufactured goods, as well as a key naval station in the Caribbean.

How many Puerto Ricans want independence? ›

Some would later try to attribute the boycott to the PPD party, citing its support for the status quo. Of the voters who participated, 97.18% chose statehood, 1.50% favored independence and 1.32% chose to maintain the commonwealth status.

Is Puerto Rico considered leaving the US? ›

International. Puerto Rico is a United States territory. If you're visiting from any part of the U.S., you don't have to exchange your currency, update your cell phone plan for international service, or go through customs or immigration. An unforgettable Caribbean getaway is within easy reach — no passport required.

Can Puerto Rican citizens move to the US? ›

As citizens, the people of Puerto Rico can move throughout the 50 states just as any other Americans can—legally, this is considered internal migration, not immigration.

Are Puerto Ricans U.S. citizens? ›

1187, 1139). The Nationality Act of 1952 reenacted the provisions of the Nationality Act of 1940. It also declared individuals born in Puerto Rico on or after January 13, 1941, to be U.S. citizens at birth (Nationality Act of 1952, 8 U.S.C. § 1402).

Why Puerto Rico should be independent? ›

Proponents of statehood argue that making Puerto Rico the 51st state would give it the tools and authority to sort out its own financial issues, and bring an increase in disability benefits, Social Security benefits, and Medicaid funding.

Who governs Puerto Rico? ›

The powers of the government of Puerto Rico (including the existence of the Puerto Rican constitution) are all delegated by the United States Congress and lack full protection under the U.S. Constitution. Because of this, the head of state of Puerto Rico is the President of the United States.

What are the most recent travel guidelines to Puerto Rico? ›

Anyone arriving to Puerto Rico will be required to present negative PCR test results, no older than 1 day. Arrivals from the US are exempt.

Has Puerto Rico lifted travel restrictions? ›

Update 2021-05-29: According to recent media reports, the night-time curfew in Puerto Rico has now been lifted. People who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 can travel to the island without a negative test.

Can I travel from Puerto Rico to the US without a passport? ›

U.S. citizens do not need a passport to travel between the U.S. and these territories: Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Puerto Rico. U.S. Virgin Islands.

Does Puerto Rico pay taxes to the United States? ›

Other US Federal taxes

While the Commonwealth government has its own tax laws, Puerto Rico residents are also required to pay US federal taxes, but most residents do not have to pay the federal personal income tax.

Can Puerto Ricans run for president? ›

In addition, an April 2000 report by the Congressional Research Service, asserts that citizens born in Puerto Rico are legally defined as natural-born citizens and are therefore eligible to be elected President, provided they meet qualifications of age and 14 years residence within the United States.

Is Puerto Rico part of the United States 2023? ›

Puerto Rico is legally part of the U.S. but is not a fully incorporated state. Since it is U.S. Territory, Congress has full authority over it. Puerto Rico and the United States have been associated with each other since 1898.

What are the cons of Puerto Rico becoming a state? ›

List of the Cons of Puerto Rico Statehood
  • Statehood would change the shape of U.S. politics nationally. ...
  • Statehood would change the number of electoral votes needed for a presidential election. ...
  • Statehood wouldn't change the voting patterns of the island. ...
  • Statehood would mean the citizens would start paying federal taxes.
Apr 21, 2019

When did Puerto Rico become the 51st state? ›

On January 4, 2017, Puerto Rico's new representative to Congress pushed a bill that would ratify statehood by 2025. On June 11, 2017, another non-binding referendum was held where 97.7 percent voted for the statehood option.

What state has the most Puerto Ricans? ›

New York. New York City has the largest population of Puerto Ricans in the country outside Puerto Rico itself, followed by Philadelphia. New York State has more Puerto Ricans than any other state, except for Florida.

Is Puerto Rico a Republican or Democrat state? ›

As a republican form of government, the government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is divided into three branches: executive, legislative and judicial, as established by the Constitution of Puerto Rico.

Is Puerto Rico self sufficient? ›

Currently, Puerto Rico produces 18 percent of all of its agricultural needs and is 82 percent dependent on foreign production. Roughly 5 percent of local production is exported. “Puerto Rico can never be 100 percent self-sustaining in all components of its dietary needs, not even the United States is.

Why are Puerto Ricans moving back to Puerto Rico? ›

Achieving economic stability is typically the main reason that many Puerto Ricans migrate to the U.S. mainland. At the same time, thousands return to Puerto Rico annually, describing their homecoming as "a dream come true."

Do I need a real ID to fly to Puerto Rico in 2023? ›

Can I go to Puerto Rico with a driver's license? US citizens traveling directly from the United States can visit Puerto Rico with a driver's license. After May 2023, all driving licenses will need to comply with the Real ID Act to serve as a substitute for a passport.

How many Puerto Ricans live in the United States mainland? ›

The 4.2 million Puerto Ricans living in the mainland U.S. have come to surpass those on the island of Puerto Rico, which until this decade had the majority of the Puerto Rican population.

Do Puerto Ricans get Social Security? ›

He noted that residents of Puerto Rico are typically exempt from most federal income, gift, estate and excise taxes, but that they are eligible for Social Security and Medicare.

What is the most common Puerto Rican last name? ›

List of the most common surnames in Puerto Rico:
  • Sanchez - 128,384.
  • Rivera - 114,777.
  • Diaz - 107,640.
  • Rodriguez- 102,137.
  • Narvaez - 70,764.
  • Burgos - 68,522.
  • Colón - 64,692.
  • Vázquez - 62,659.

Is living in Puerto Rico expensive? ›

Renting in Puerto Rico

Since the cost of living in Puerto Rico is generally lower than in the United States, the rent is cheaper as well.

What ethnicity are Puerto Rican U.S. citizens? ›

According to the National Geographic Genographic Project, "the average Puerto Rican individual carries 12% Native American, 65% West Eurasian (Mediterranean, Northern European and/or Middle Eastern) and 20% Sub-Saharan African DNA."

How long can a US citizen stay in Puerto Rico? ›

An approved ESTA for Puerto Rico allows a stay of 90 days with each entry for tourism, transit, or business purposes, and is valid for a total of 2 years from issue, meaning there is no need to re-apply for every trip to US territories.

Is Puerto Rican Native American? ›

Indigenous Puerto Ricans can be considered Native Americans. These people are native to America. However, they have a different population development route than the other Native Americans.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Puerto Rico? ›

23 Pros and Cons of Living in Puerto Rico
  • Pro: Natural Beauty of the Islands. ...
  • Con: Things Move Slower. ...
  • Pro: Warm Weather All Year Round. ...
  • Con: Hurricane Season. ...
  • Pro: Beautiful Beaches. ...
  • Con: Mosquitos and Sand Fleas. ...
  • Pro: High Quality of Life. ...
  • Con: High Crime Rates.
Aug 2, 2022

What is the gag law in Puerto Rico? ›

The act made it a crime to own or display a Puerto Rican flag, to sing a patriotic tune, to speak or write of independence, or to meet with anyone or hold any assembly in favor of Puerto Rican independence.

Will the flag change if Puerto Rico became a state? ›

If any of the 5 populated unincorporated US Territories (Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the US Virgin Islands, or Puerto Rico) became a state, the flag would have a star added, just as for any other state.

Does Puerto Rico have its own military? ›

The Puerto Rico Army National Guard, America's unique bicultural force, is comprised of more than 10,000 Citizen-Soldiers. The PRARNG support communities using their specialized skills. Medical units provided preventive health care, education, and immunizations in low-income neighborhoods.

What are Puerto Ricans made of? ›

Puerto Ricans' heritage is a mix of Taíno Indian, African, and European (mostly Spanish)—and the island's food reflects this.

Do you need US visa to go to Puerto Rico? ›

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory, but associated with the United States. U.S. citizens do not need a visa to travel to Puerto Rico, and vice versa.

How much is the exit fee for Puerto Rico? ›

Bring U.S. cash, since the airports do not accept checks, debit cards or credit cards for this exit fee. The exact amount changes according to the current exchange rate between the Puerto Rican peso and the American dollar, but typically varies between $50 to $70, according to the U.S. Department of State.

Can you drink tap water in Puerto Rico? ›

Both the CDC and World Health Organization say that Puerto Rico's drinking water is generally safe to drink. Travel advisors expand on that, pointing out that as a territory of the United States Puerto Rico must meet the same standards for drinking water as the States do.

What is the current status of Puerto Rico? ›

Congress and the federal government have since been allowed to treat Puerto Rico as foreign for domestic purposes and a state for international purposes.

What is the drinking age in Puerto Rico? ›

There is some similarity between DUI-related laws in Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland, but there are also differences. For example, the legal drinking age in Puerto Rico is 18, and for those 18–20 years of age, BAC levels must be lower than . 02.

Does Puerto Rico want to be part of the United States? ›

Some would later try to attribute the boycott to the PPD party, citing its support for the status quo. Of the voters who participated, 97.18% chose statehood, 1.50% favored independence and 1.32% chose to maintain the commonwealth status.

What does Puerto Rico contribute to the United States? ›

Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and can vote in U.S. presidential primaries. They can even become president of the United States. Puerto Rico contributes more soldiers to the U.S. armed services per capita than any state, and Puerto Ricans pay federal payroll and other taxes.

Does Puerto Rico get Medicare? ›

More than 65% of individuals living in Puerto Rico receive health care through Medicaid and Medicare, but federal funding for these programs in US territories has restrictions not present in the US mainland.

Are property taxes high in Puerto Rico? ›

The maximum tax rate is 9.83% and varies depending on the municipality in which the taxable property is located. Taxable property normally includes cash on hand, inventories, materials and supplies, furniture and fixtures, and machinery and equipment used in the trade or business.

What is the average cost of living in Puerto Rico? ›

Cost of Living In Puerto Rico: The Average monthly cost of living, including rent, utilities, food, and transportation, ranges from $1,280 – $6,160 Per Month.

Is Puerto Rico becoming the 51st state? ›

In November 2023, Puerto Ricans may vote on whether they want to become the 51st US state or gain full independence. Washington – for the first time ever – has signalled a possible green light to allow for a binding vote.

Why are people moving out of Puerto Rico? ›

Achieving economic stability is typically the main reason that many Puerto Ricans migrate to the U.S. mainland. At the same time, thousands return to Puerto Rico annually, describing their homecoming as "a dream come true."

Why is Puerto Rico population declining? ›

“Puerto Rico's population continues to decline, with all 78 municipios experiencing population loss in 2022,” the Census Bureau said in a press release accompanying the data. “The drop in population is largely a result of natural decrease, as all municipios had more deaths than births and negative net migration.”

Where do most Puerto Rican live in the US? ›

New York City has the largest population of Puerto Ricans in the country outside Puerto Rico itself, followed by Philadelphia. New York State has more Puerto Ricans than any other state, except for Florida.


1. 8 Reasons Why Americans LEAVE Costa Rica [Why I Left]
(Traveling with Kristin)
2. Victim opens fire on would-be robbers in Melrose shootout
(FOX 11 Los Angeles)
3. seeing wife face for first time #shorts
4. I Regret Going To The Dominican Republic 🇩🇴 ... Without Knowing These 7 Things | Subtítulos Español
(El Check-In )
5. Easy Fix to YouTube TV Location Restriction
(Jake Broe)
6. The Plane That Crashed On Purpose 😱 (EXPLAINED)
(Zack D. Films)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Manual Maggio

Last Updated: 11/16/2023

Views: 6416

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Manual Maggio

Birthday: 1998-01-20

Address: 359 Kelvin Stream, Lake Eldonview, MT 33517-1242

Phone: +577037762465

Job: Product Hospitality Supervisor

Hobby: Gardening, Web surfing, Video gaming, Amateur radio, Flag Football, Reading, Table tennis

Introduction: My name is Manual Maggio, I am a thankful, tender, adventurous, delightful, fantastic, proud, graceful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.